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Last Updated: Monday, 7 May 2007, 08:50 GMT 09:50 UK
Baby owls cuddle up to toy mother
The owls and stuffed toy
The stuffed toy is acting as mother to four tawny owls
A group of orphaned baby owls are being taken under the wing of a new mother - which happens to be a cuddly toy.

The toy is being used at the New Forest Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park to give four tawny owls a surrogate family.

The quartet all cuddle under the wings of the stuffed toy, which has been mother to another two orphans who have since been moved on to an outside pen.

John Crooks, manager of the park at Longdown, said he did not think it was unusual to use a toy as a surrogate.

"It's a standard thing really. The baby owls are like most young animals and like to cuddle against something soft and warm.

"Just by chance we have got a nice gift shop here with some nice owls in it," he told the BBC.

The owls were all brought to the park after being abandoned.

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